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Danielle Pletka: The Most Special Nation

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

I’ve been an American citizen for 18 years now. No single member of my family was born on the same continent, and until 1992, I was an Australian citizen. I love Australia, and hadn’t really been eager to become an American. It was more convenient to carry my Ozzie passport, the green card was fine, and I saw no reason to change the status quo. But I had to become a citizen when I went to work for the U.S. government, and toddled off to take my naturalization test and swear in with a huge group somewhere in Alexandria, Virginia. No one came with me, it wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t take a photo, wave a flag, or wear a lapel pin.

As I have gotten older, however, I clutch my American passport to me more and more. Yes, Australia is a wonderful country, an almost idyllic place to grow up for my parents. But as the years pass, it has become ever clearer to me that America is the most special nation on earth. We’re not chill like Australians; we’re not chic like Italians; we don’t cook like the French; frankly, I like British novelists better, too. But around the world, we remain that shining city. I know it’s sappy. I even feel a little sappy saying it. But who will fight for someone else’s freedom first? Who will reach into his pocket first to help another? Who frets about the well being of the downtrodden first? Is there another nation whose volunteer army has sacrificed as much—not for soil, nor for glory, but for the ideals upon which our country was built?

Image by seantoyer.

Danielle Pletka is vice president of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at AEI.

Cross-posted at the Enterprise Blog.